Revitalizing Small Towns Through Hospitality Design: Cañon City

Revitalizing Small Towns Through Hospitality Design: Cañon City

At JOHNSON NATHAN STROHE, our mission goes beyond creating environments that are both beautiful and functional for their intended use. With every new project, we aim to design a place that also benefits the surrounding community, helping to bolster the economic vitality of the area. It’s one of the most rewarding parts of our work.

Over the years, we’ve seen the impact that hotel developments can have on economic growth, and particularly in tertiary markets – defined as having a population of less than 2 million people. Hotels, which often serve as epicenters for travelers and locals alike, can serve as the perfect catalyst for revitalizing these smaller markets and spurring intentional growth. 

Our new project in Cañon City provides a powerful example of this kind of opportunity. 

Creating a “Living Room for Cañon City” 

For decades, Cañon City has been seen through a very specific lens: as a prison town. Home to of some of Colorado’s largest prisons, Cañon City’s economy is built largely around the prison system, which employs the majority of the city’s population of approximately 16,500. Due in large part to this association, the town lacks a strong hospitality element to draw visitors.

Look at little closer, however, and you’ll find that Cañon City offers highly sought-after experiences with easy access to some of the state’s best mountain biking trails, kayaking, rafting, ziplining and fly fishing. With more than six million people passing through Cañon City each year on Highway 50, this small town has the potential to be one of Colorado’s greatest destinations for travelers of all kinds.

To begin unlocking the economic potential of Cañon City, owner/developer Unbridled tapped JOHNSON NATHAN STROHE to help with one of the central projects of a larger revitalization plan: to renovate the historic Hotel St. Cloud.

With the intent of creating a “living room” for the community, we are currently in the early conceptual phase of redesigning the Hotel St. Cloud, a local landmark in Cañon City. Sitting on the corner of 7th and Main Street, Hotel St. Cloud will offer a luxurious hospitality experience unlike anything in the region. 

The 42-room boutique hotel includes an interactive lobby space with striking, modern interiors, leaving guests with an enduring first impression. Honoring the area’s rich history, the design incorporates authentic materials that speak to the context of Main Street, while also boasting a forward-thinking design. 

A second-floor community space invites visitors and locals alike to gather for celebrations and social events. A balcony in this space will offer gorgeous views of the mountains and the opportunity to get a clear, aerial view of parades and other happenings on Main Street.

There are also plans for an award-winning restaurant to occupy the ground-floor retail space, where patrons can enjoy a bite to eat before heading out on an adventure-filled day or unwind at the end of a long day in the great outdoors. 

We’re honored to help bring this vision to life over the next few years in this one-of-a-kind Colorado town. Stay tuned for updates on this project.